The Avi Chai Foundation hosted a graduation ceremony last night for the Jewish day schools that participated in their Social Media Academy. I’ve written before about the Academy here and here. I had the special privilege of watching the amazing folks at Darim Online and Big Duck model, coach and teach the schools about social media use in environments that resources and staff stretched.
During the celebration last night, representatives from the eight participating schools provided their own reflections on their experiences. Here are a few of my favorite stories:
Two rabbis from an orthodox day school giddily discussed using Twitter to have conversations with their students during class — and continuing those conversations (including one on respecting your parents!) online after class.
One school had hastily shut down a teacher’s Facebook group page last year. During the Academy teachers were encouraged to start Facebook pages for discussions among students moderated by teachers.
And one executive director of a school relayed her “Aha” moment with social media when she realized that in order to connect with alumni she had to think about what they wanted to talk about, not just what she wanted to talk about. Easier said than done when everything staff people are taught is how to communicate what we want to say to people – and get them to do what we want, not the other way around.
I hope this is just the beginning of the social media journey for these schools. As I said last night, each one of them took an intentional step that made them personally and institutionally uncomfortable. That takes an enormous amount of courage that I’m delighted we had a chance to celebrate.